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62 days after being laid off

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Help! My spouse was laid off from work

When a spouse is laid off from work, it is not just the unemployed person that is affected.

Often, when the primary breadwinner is laid off or fired from their job, the entire dynamics of the relationship changes. Husbands and wives fight more. The children get clingy and scared. Everyone tends to walk on eggshells around the newly laid off parent. No one knows quite what to do with the parent being home all day. When that person gets depressed or angry, the emotions expand throughout the household.

Fears

  • How are we going to get the bills paid?
  • What am I going to do to help my spouse keep his or her spirits up and to find a job?
  • What will my friends and family say?

How to support your spouse when after they are laid-off or fired

  • Make a financial budget and differentiate the wants from the needs of the household.
  • Have a family meeting to discuss the upcoming changes. A family agreement to live on a shoestring will make everyone feel helpful and will release some of the financial strain.
  • Find things to do that don't cost money (organize family photos, clean out the garage).
  • Find places to go that don't cost money: park, roller skating, museums (most museums offer free admission once a month).

How to survive a layoff without losing your sanity

  • Keep a schedule. Job hunting should be a priority, but it is important to vary your activities. Searching for jobs all day, everyday can quickly cause burn-out and depression.
  • Take up an inexpensive hobby.
  • Visit the local library. Most libraries will allow you to check out movies and cd's for free.
  • Interact with people. It is important to get out of the house and surround yourself with other people.

Resentment

Resentment is normal. The longer the spouse has been without work, the more resentment develops in the supporting spouse. The supportive spouse may start asking questions: Are they aggressively looking for work? Are they contributing/working at the house? Sometimes the stress of being laid-off causes the individual to a state of low-energy, television-watching inactivity. If this happens, resentment from the supportive spouse may increase while motivation of the laid-off spouse to seek employment decreases.

To help reduce resentment:

  • Discuss the need to develop a team strategy to approach the unemployment and finances.
  • Agree that employed or not — both need to "work". "Work" can include keeping up the house and picking the kids up from school or other activities.
  • The spouse who is laid-off needs to show an effort to fix the situation

Tips on how to support your family on one income

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